Though Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Campbell, while speaking at a business luncheon today in Berkeley, opened with the tried-and-true conservative tenet that “we ought not spend more than we have,” he described several of his policy stances that are blasphemous to much of the GOP base.
(1.) He repeated his call for a one-year, 10 percent hike in the state gas tax, a move he said would’ve obviated the need for deep education cuts and the state’s current plan to raid county and city coffers. Even with the tax hike, he said, Californians would still be paying far less for gas than they did last summer, and wouldn’t be mortgaging their kids’ education and their local services while doing so.
(2.) He said he favors stem-cell research, although he would’ve preferred that 2004’s Proposition 71 – which authorized California to sell $3 billion in bonds and pay out nearly $300 million a year for a decade to researchers for human embryonic stem-cell experiments – had a more solid fiscal plan for covering its own costs.
(3.) He talked about limiting the initiative process, so that all ballot measures requiring increased state spending gain the Legislative Analyst’s certification that there’s a proven way to pay for it built in.
(4.) If someone promises merely to root out “waste, fraud and abuse” as the centerpiece of his or her fiscal policy, “run from that candidate,” Campbell advised – that’s vague and rarely produces the touted savings, he said.
(5.) He questioned the wisdom of California’s legislative term limits, saying they prevent lawmakers from gaining the kind of experience and building the trusting relationships that allow for wise, balanced policy-making.
Add to that the facts that Campbell is pro-choice, pro-gay-rights and pro-gun-control (none of which came up in today’s fiscal lecture and discussion) and you’ve got a candidate who could conceivably fare well in a general election, but probably has a tough row to hoe in the GOP primary.